“It is MY fault?”

it is my fault.jpg

“How is it my fault that you can’t get it right?” I mentally ask the order taker at my favorite taco shop. It is Thursday takeout night. After a long week of school, work, night feedings, cleaning, bathing, laughing, crying, dog walking and sleeping, I allow someone else to cook for me. “One taco salad with no cheese or sour cream, super carne asada burrito, and an itty bitty bean burrito” I say. I am an efficient order giver. With one child in a carrier on front, one hanging on down below and a cell phone that won’t shut up, I have to be. From the quick food assembly line, organized menu and fast paced music; I think they are the same.

However, in the end he screwed  it up last week and I was resorted to picking through an inedible salad and grumbling at how customer service used to be. Of course I call and speak to the manager, only to be told the counter guy is new and to give him a chance and next weeks salad is on them. I have come in once a week for four years, have ordered the same thing and I should “give him a break”? This just leaves me feeling like it was my fault.

“What about you training your employees and not putting them on the front lines until they are ready? What about hiring someone with the tangible and intangible skills to handle the type of customer that you attract? How about something more than just replacing what you screwed up?”

If you aren’t going to train your employees to your systems, than quit wasting your time creating systems. I love the branding, catchy phrases and organized menus—but if you aren’t going to train your people to use them and deliver the right product and service experience, then as they say it in my household, ‘let it go’ and stay disorganized, unbranded and lost.

Customer Service Ring

Branding: It is 2015 and all I hear people talk about is branding. Hey, I am not complaining. Having done this work as long as I have, many years ago I wished people actually knew what the word branding was. It is great to see leaders respecting its importance. You need to be branded; it is what will differentiate you amongst a sea of competition. What is your culture and brand? Why should they come to you? Who are you?

Systems: Let’s get clear about this. Systems support the brand. They reflect it; they are the guidelines that insure the brand is executed and implemented. The brand is upheld by the systems. So, how does your menu reflect your brand? How does your product? Service? Uniforms? Building?…you get my drift. Every system and decision in your business is designed to support your brand.  I ask you, are yours documented? Organized? Accessible? Managed to?

People: System operators are key. Yet, system operators also have to be able to think. You can train ‘em in your systems all day long, but one day they will have to make a decision on their own. Hence, what completes this customer service ring. Training them on the systems and the brand is what will fully allow them to deliver the experience you are hoping for.

Yes, I’m serious about my Mexican food. But what I really take seriously is customer service. Customer service….the experience your customers have, IS your product these days. I’m here to tell you that if you don’t spend more time and money on training people and less on worrying about the other costs associated in running your business you may start seeing an uptick in your margins…your sales…..and your referrals.  Have I finally got your ear?


Wish me luck; Thursday will be here before you know it.